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Special provisions in curriculum and assessment
Information sheet 58

Advice about processes and procedures for determining and implementing special provisions at Stage 1 and Stage 2. Read in conjunction with the Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy.

Following a review of the Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment policy and procedures, schools are reminded that processes and procedures have changed for 2018.

The SACE Board recognises that if all students are treated in the same way, some individual students, under circumstances outlined in the Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy, will not be able to participate in SACE curriculum and assessment on the same basis as other students.

Students who are eligible for special provisions are entitled to reasonable adjustments in curriculum and assessment. The policy seeks to ensure continuity and consistency of adjustments between school and external assessments. 

The policy should be applied flexibly. Reasonable adjustments are many and varied and are determined on a case-by-case basis, according to the needs of the student and the nature of the assessment.

In determining reasonable adjustments in curriculum and assessment, special provisions cannot be used to compensate for learning that has not occurred. The application of special provisions cannot exempt a student from the learning requirements or the knowledge and skill requirements of a subject outline, or from any of the SACE certification requirements.

Reasonable adjustments

School responsibilities

Schools identify and implement reasonable adjustments for both school and external assessments that can be managed within the school context. For students with disability, schools must meet their legal obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005 in determining and implementing reasonable adjustments in curriculum and assessment. Schools can seek advice from the SACE Board to support the fair, flexible, and equitable management of special provisions at the school level.

Schools:

  • establish eligibility for special provisions
  • advise students of the availability of special provisions on the grounds of disability
  • provide evidence of the incident, relevant comments, and/or documentation of the section(s) of work
  • forward to the SACE Board student requests for special provisions on the grounds of misadventure / personal circumstances, with all the required evidence
  • where appropriate, advise students of the progress of their request
  • discuss the outcome of a request, and any implications, with students.

Determining eligibility

Decisions about eligibility for special provisions and reasonable adjustments must be based on evidence, including observations of teachers, counsellors, and other school staff, discussions with the student or an associate of the student, results of reading or other standardised tests and, in most cases, reports from professionals (e.g. medical practitioners, psychologists).

For students with disability, decisions about reasonable adjustments:

  • must include consultation with the student (or an associate of the student, such as a relative or carer)
  • must balance the interests of all parties affected
  • may require a detailed, independent, expert assessment, in order to determine the necessary adjustments
  • must be made within a reasonable time
  • may include an alternative reasonable adjustment that is less disruptive and intrusive but no less beneficial for the student
  • may change over time.

Reasonable adjustments should provide opportunities for eligible students to demonstrate what they know, understand, and can do in SACE subjects. The determination of reasonable adjustments for an individual student should give regard to the effect of the adjustment on the student’s independence, and their ability to achieve learning outcomes and participate in assessment.

Special provisions address disadvantage in curriculum and assessment for eligible students. The reasonable adjustments put in place for a student may vary from subject to subject, and from assessment to assessment, according to the eligible student’s choice and needs.

Schools should establish processes to ensure that decisions about special provisions made by the school are conducted ethically, and with integrity, accountability, and transparency for students.

In determining reasonable adjustments, schools should be aware that:

  • students cannot be exempted from one or more learning requirements in a subject or from providing evidence for a whole assessment type
  • performance standards in a subject are not adjusted for students who have been granted special provisions
  • an alternative adjustment to the student’s preferred form of adjustment may be provided, if the alternative is effective in achieving the desired purpose
  • special provisions should not cause undue hardship for the student (for example, by requiring a student to sit a test or examination of excessive length) or unjustifiable hardship for the school (for example, by creating a considerable financial burden for the school).

Schools are encouraged to identify eligible students as soon as possible so that reasonable adjustments can be made for Stage 1 and Stage 2 assessments and requests submitted to the SACE Board, where appropriate (see ‘SACE Board responsibilities’ below). For students with disability, as per the Disability Discrimination Act 1992, schools should monitor and regularly review the reasonable adjustments provided to ensure the adjustments remain appropriate over time, in accordance with the expectations of the ‘Nationally consistent collection of data on school students with disability’.

Schools that rely on unjustifiable hardship as a reason for not making a particular reasonable adjustment should only do so in accordance with their legal obligations under the Disibility Discrimination Act 1992 and Disability Standards for Education 2005, and must give notice of, and reasons for, the decision to the student (or an associate of the student) as soon as possible after the decision is made.

School-approved adjustments

Schools approve and implement reasonable adjustments that can be managed in the school context for school assessment(s) and/or external assessment(s). School-approved adjustments do not require approval from the SACE Board. Examples of school-approved adjustments include:

  • extensions to school set due dates
  • reducing the number of tasks in an assessment type
  • extra reading time
  • extra writing time (typically 10 minutes per hour / up to 20 minutes per hour for students with more significant difficulties)
  • use of a word processor in examinations
  • use of rest breaks (without loss of reading/writing time)
  • use of a reader, clarifier, or assistive technology
  • use of a scribe with separate invigilation
  • access to medication (with time made up for attending to medical needs)
  • separate invigilation.

Please refer to Special provisions for examples of possible adjustments in relation to the grounds for eligibility and possible impact of a condition / circumstances on a student’s ability to participate in or comply with the conditions of SACE curriculum and assessment.

Case studies provide further individual examples of school-approved special provisions.

SACE Board responsibilities

SACE Board officers consider and approve requests for reasonable adjustments for eligible students in external assessments at Stage 2 that affect SACE Board processes and/or require(s) action on the part of the SACE Board to be implemented. For students with disability, such requests must include consultation with the student (or an associate of the student) at the school level, prior to submission to the SACE Board. The SACE Board is also responsible for considering requests for special provisions in Stage 2 examinations on the grounds of misadventure or personal circumstances.

All requests for special provisions submitted to the SACE Board must include a clear recommendation from the student’s principal (or delegate) regarding the eligibility of the student for special provisions and the appropriateness of the adjustment(s) requested. If further clarification is required, SACE Board officers will consult with the school and/or the student regarding proposed adjustments to ensure the special provisions granted constitute reasonable adjustments for the student and are manageable for the school and the SACE Board.

SACE Board-approved adjustments

Some students with disability will require reasonable adjustments that affect the production of Stage 2 examination papers and/or materials. In such situations, schools must submit a request to the SACE Board as early as possible in the school year so that the required adjustment(s) can be put in place. A new request for reasonable adjustments in Stage 2 external assessments for eligible students should be made each year if adjustments are required for more than one year. Examples of adjustments requiring SACE Board approval include:

  • provision of an enlarged examination paper
  • an additional CD supplied for the student
  • provision of a braille examination paper
  • provision of an examination on CD for reading purposes
  • printing of an examination on coloured paper
  • supervision of an examination at home or elsewhere
  • extension to SACE Board submission dates
  • provision of a reduced examination paper
  • adjustments to online examinations (e.g. extra time, use of assistive technology)
  • provision of an examination in paper format
  • provision of an examination in electronic format
  • change to a scheduled performance date (where possible)
  • use of a derived result.

To request adjustments in external assessments on the basis of known, pre-existing disabilities, schools submit Form 31 to the SACE Board by the end of term 1. 

 

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Derived result

Students may request the use of a derived result for Stage 2 examinations and performances if they are suffering from a medical condition (including illness) or a psychological disorder and, as a consequence:

  • are unable to attend an examination or a performance
  • sit an examination or perform in an external assessment while impaired
  • suffered from the serious illness for 3 or more days immediately before an examination or a performance.

Students may also request the use of a derived result on the grounds of misadventure or personal circumstances for Stage 2 examinations, performances, and investigations (an investigation means any externally marked task other than an examination or a performance, such as a folio, study, reflection, or evaluation). A derived result for misadventure in assessment is requested as the result of an incident beyond the student’s and/or the school’s control that affects a student’s ability to participate in, or comply with the requirements or conditions of, an assessment on the same basis as other students (e.g. a death in the family, a car accident, technical issues experienced during an online examination, or a fire alarm during an examination). An application for personal circumstances may be based on interrupted schooling because of family responsibilities or cultural obligations.

Derived results may be calculated statistically from the predicted results provided by teachers prior to examinations and performances and/or a result may be derived on the basis of the student’s achievement in drafts (for investigations) and/or comparable assessments.

What the student should do

Students should be encouraged to attempt the examination, performance, or investigation where possible, as this provision enables the higher of the student’s actual assessment result and the derived assessment result to be used.

If a student is planning not to sit an examination / examinations or not to perform, the request — with supporting evidence from the school and a medical practitioner — should be submitted to the SACE Board before the student’s performance or examination(s) for approval.

Requests for the use of a derived result should be submitted to the SACE Board within 3 days of the student’s performance or final examination. For investigations, the request must be submitted as soon as possible after it is deemed necessary.

 

School responsibilities

To request the use of a derived result, schools submit Form 32 within 3 days of the student’s performance date or last examination.

The following evidence is required when requesting the use of a derived result:

  • All requests require a Section 1: Confidential school report (Form 32).
  • Requests for medical conditions / psychological disorders also require a Section 2: Confidential medical practitioner’s report, parts A and B (Form 32).
  • Applications for misadventure or personal circumstances require supporting documentation from a teacher / teachers, the principal, or the principal’s delegate for events occurring at school, or a statutory declaration describing the misadventure / personal circumstances outside the school.

Evidence to support an application on the grounds of misadventure or personal circumstances in an externally marked investigation could include, for example:

  • working drafts of investigations together with subject teacher comments
  • documentation of the interaction between the teacher and the student at different stages in the preparation of an investigation
  • photographic evidence
  • if no other evidence is available, a statutory declaration citing the circumstances.

All requests for a derived result must include a clear recommendation from the student’s principal (or delegate) regarding the eligibility of the student for special provisions, the accuracy of the information provided, and whether or not the request is supported by the school.

 

SACE Board responsibilities

The SACE Board:

  • considers requests for the use of a derived result
  • approves the use of a derived result for eligible students whose applications are supported by the principal (or delegate)
  • derives a result statistically from the predicted results (for examinations and performances) or on the basis of drafts completed for an investigation and/or in comparable assessments
  • in cases where students sat an examination or performed, awards the higher of the actual or derived result.
  • notifies students of the outcome of the request for a derived result.

Note: A student whose request for the use of a derived result is not granted by the SACE Board will be notified at the end of the examination period. If the request is granted, the student will be notified at the time of results release.

 

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Record-keeping and reporting

School responsibilities

Schools maintain records of the reasonable adjustments provided to students for school and/or external assessments at Stage 1 and Stage 2.

School records for each student should include:

  • the grounds for eligibility
  • evidence used to determine eligibility and reasonable adjustments
  • consultation undertaken with the student or an associate of the student
  • the reasonable adjustment(s) available to the student
  • the subjects and assessment task(s) for which adjustments are provided.

The records should enable schools to meet any reporting obligations to sectors and for the ‘Nationally consistent collection of data on school students with disability’ for the purposes of sections 4, 52(3A) and 58A of the Australian Education Regulation 2013.

 

SACE Board responsibilities

The SACE Board maintains records of the reasonable adjustments it approves for Stage 2 external assessments.

SACE records should include:

  • the grounds for eligibility
  • evidence used to determine eligibility for reasonable adjustments
  • any additional consultation with the student and/or the student’s school
  • the reasonable adjustment(s) available to the student
  • the subjects and assessment task(s) for which adjustments are provided.

The records kept by schools and the SACE Board should enable the SACE Board to monitor the effectiveness of its Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy.

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Grievances, appeals, and investigations

A grievance, appeal, and investigation process is available when a student (or an associate of the student)  believes that decisions or other actions taken in relation to special provisions in curriculum and assessment, for either school or external assessments, have not been carried out in accordance with the SACE Board’s Special Provisions in Curriculum and Assessment Policy and its procedures. The SACE Board’s Protocols and Procedures for Assessment Related Grievances, Appeals, and Investigations outline the processes to be followed.

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Forms

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